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The Trigger For India’s Switch To AK-203 From INSAS Rifle And How It Targets Atmanirbhar Boost

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The Trigger For India’s Switch To AK-203 From INSAS Rifle And How It Targets Atmanirbhar Boost

India is set to undertake the domestic production of the Russian AK-203, which will replace the INSAS rifle as the standard issue rifle for troops

The last hurdles have been removed for the production of the Russian AK-203 assault rifle in India, which are set to replace the misfiring and much-criticised INSAS rifle as the standard issue for Indian troops. The deal for the AK-203, which carries the iconic stamp of the Kalashnikov family of weapons, aims at the full localisation of the materials and resources for its production, thus coming as a shot in the arm for the Make-In India endeavour. Here’s what you need to know.

What Had Held Up Production of AK-203s In India?

The proposal for the production of the advanced AK-203 rifles was first announced in 2018 but the deal was hanging fire over the issue of pricing and transfer of technology for the weapons. However, after Russia agreed to waive the royalty payment for sharing the technical knowhow, reports said that decks have now been cleared for the factory at Korwa in UP’s Amethi district to commence production.

The deal for the production of over 6 lakh Ak-203 rifles is set to be worth over Rs 5,000 crore and is expected to be inked later this year with production to begin next year, reports said. Amid delays in getting the deal finalised, India had earlier this year moved to buy 70,000 AK-203 rifles off the shelf from Russia with the purchase of a tranche of the US-made SIG Sauer 716 assault rifles, too, having been authorised under emergency provisions.

The pricing issue revolved around the requirements of achieving full indigenisation vis-a-vis the manufacture of the weapon in India, including the transfer of technology. Reports said that the cost of producing it domestically was working out to be higher than what it would take to import the rifles. But with Russia agreeing to drop a royalty fee on each rifle to be produced in India, the pricing issue has been sorted, reports said.

Why Is India Eyeing New Rifles?

The AK-203s will be replacing the standard issue INSAS, short for Indian Small Arms System, rifles that were designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and began to be inducted in the 1990s. Several issues have been reported with the INSAS rifle down the years and, in 2017, the Centre decided it was time to find a better replacement.

Among the several reported drawbacks of the INSAS rifle were a tendency to jam, or its transparent magazine cracking during in freezing temperatures. Troops in combat areas and those conducting counter-terrorism or anti-Naxal operations are said to routinely swap out their INSAS rifles for the AK-47 or other imported rifles.

Further, the INSAS rifle, with its smaller 5.56×45mm calibre bullets, was regarded as built more to injure and incapacitate targets rather than neutralise them. All that changes, however, with the decision to induct the AK-203, which comes with the pedigree of belonging to the legendary Russian Automatic Kalshnikov stable.

According to Russian defence export agency Rosobornexport, the AK-203 iteration of the AK platform comes improves “fire accuracy and barrel lifespan considerably” while “modern design features such as folding and adjustable buttstock, windowed and rifled magazine, and a pistol grip made this assault rifle more ergonomic”.

How Does The AK-203 Compare With The INSAS Rifle?

The AK-203 is lighter, shorter and deadlier than the INSAS rifle.

Even without the magazine and the bayonet, the INSAS rifle weighs 4.15kg while the AK-203’s empty weight is 3.8kg. The length of the INSAS rifle is 960mm without the bayonet while the AK-203 has a length of 705mm with the stock folded.

Against the 5.56×45mm bullets used by INSAS, the AK-203 uses 7.62x39mm bullets, which makes it more lethal. INSAS has an effective range of 400m while AK-403 is said to have a sighting range of 800m. The AK-203 magazine carries 30 bullets against the 20 round capacity of the INSAS rifle.

Reports say that while the INSAS can fire single shots and in three-round bursts, the AK-203 rifle can be used in automatic and semi-automatic mode. Also, while the INSAS rifle has a better fire rate of 650 bullets per minute, the AK-203 with its 600 bullets per minute rate is, however, seen as providing greater accuracy.

How Will The AK-203 Deal Help With Make In India?

The production of the AK-203 will be undertaken in India by the Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd (IRRPL), which was created as a joint venture between the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) and the Russian entities Rosoboronexport and Concern Kalashnikov. OFB holds 50.5 per cent stake in the concern with the Russian entities accounting for the remaining 49.5 per cent share.

The JV was formed as a result of an inter-governmental agreement signed between India and Russia in February 2019. A Defence Ministry statement in 2019 had said that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had stressed on 100 per cent indigenisation of production of the AK-203s while officials had noted that the JV “when fully operational is expected to source a number of components and services from MSMEs”.

This is expected to bring in investment and employment in the region with IRRPL officials noting “the potential of the project to act as catalyst for UP Defence Corridor”, bringing in investment and employment in the region.

Further, it is reported that IRRPL will also be taking up exports of the weapon to other countries after the commencement of production at the Korwa factory.

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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